Eliminating tariffs called key to Nevada’s international trade

Eliminating tariffs is key for Nevada’s international trade to flourish, a trade official said Monday in Las Vegas.

“In 2012, Nevada exported $700 million in goods to the European Union and they paid 5 percent or $35 million in tariffs,” said Bernadette Greene, deputy consul for the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Los Angeles. “If tariffs were eliminated, that extra money could have been spent on other industries such as health care. When you diminish tariffs, Nevada’s trade will be able to flourish.”

Greene’s talk came at the first World Affairs Council of Las Vegas’ “European Union in the United States” conference, which was attended by nearly 100 people at Treasure Island.

Stanley Parry, president of the the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas, said the local organization was one of 13 councils across the United States that was chosen to host this conference, which focused mainly on trade and investment between the United States and the European Union. There are close to 100 councils in 40 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“Through this conference, it is our hope that the Las Vegas community becomes more aware of the global economy and that we enhance global understanding for our business and political leaders, students and citizens,” Parry said.

A panel discussion at the conference, hosted by the governor’s economic development office, was lead by Žygimantas Pavilionis, the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States. Along with Greene, it included Beth Ring, an attorney at a New York-based international trade and business law firm, Andreas von Uexküll, the minister counselor at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C.

Kristopher Sanchez, director of international trade for the governor’s economic development office, which works to draw foreign investment as well as assist residents who would like to start or expand their business into international markets, said the office works closely with the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas.

“We can help pave the way for global investment in Nevada but we need local organizations to take the lead and foster partnerships,” he said. “The (World Affairs Council) has contacts and they’re able to leverage the effort of expanding Nevada’s footprint internationally.”

“Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of Nevada and while we want to build on that industry there’s more to it as we’d like to strengthen and diversify it to continue to build Nevada’s economy. It’s helpful to have organizations like (the World Affairs Council) to spread the message about Nevada to other countries,” Sanchez said.

Contact reporter Ann Friedman at afriedman@reviewjournal.com.